Resources for Farmers
SMADC has developed a wide range of tools, resources and support for farms, including grants, mentorships, equipment rental, forums, workshops and more. We offer support in marketing, in business development, and in navigating the often complex legislation associated with specialty fields.
Call: (240) 528-8850
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Agriculture Education & Training
Ag Continuing Education
Education is key to ensuring a successful future for farms in Maryland. SMADC has several education and outreach strategies for farmers including workshops and events, courses through the University of Maryland IAA and College of Southern Maryland, and hands-on trainings. Check our calendar for upcoming events.
Upcoming: Free Virtual Cottage Food Workshop – February 7, 2023
Hosted by The Maryland Department of Health (MDH) Office of Food Protection, in partnership with SMADC
February 7, 2023, from 9 a.m. to 10:30 a.m.
Registration opening January 3, 2023
In this training workshop, MDH Plan Review Specialists will provide an overview of Maryland’s Cottage Food law and regulations. Participants will become familiar with the definition of a Cottage Food Business and the types of products that can be sold, Cottage Food labeling requirements, how to request a Unique Identification Number (used instead of a business address), and how to sell products at a Retail Food store. The presentation will also explore the next steps for a growing Cottage Food Business.
Attendees will learn from pre-and-post tests of frequently asked questions illustrated with situational examples such as – “Mary wants to sell her cottage food products at her friend’s hair salon and boutique. Is she allowed to do that?’’ And “I can make pickles, beverages, and elderberry syrup as a Cottage Food business?” Get the answers to these questions, ask your own and learn everything you need to know to operate a home-based Cottage Food business in Maryland.
Established Cottage Food businesses, farmers market managers, farm vendors (on-farm stores and stands), retail food stores and anyone who is thinking about starting a home-based food business are encouraged to attend to hear the latest Cottage Food business guidelines.
Workshop presentation handouts plus links to the latest MDH Cottage Food guidelines will be provided to view and download once made available.
Workshop date: February 7, 2023 – Please check back on January 3rd for additional details.
SMADC participates every year in the Maryland Department of Agriculture’s Farm to School Week. It has issued grants for high schools to refurbish greenhouses and develop hands-on curriculum for students to learn about the many aspects of food and plant production.
SMADC is also a sponsor of the Southern Maryland Livestock Invitational Expo (SMILE), a yearly event that brings together children and teens in livestock and domestic animal-related events.
SMADC Speaker Series
SMADC is frequently approached by clubs, organizations and groups for information about individual programs, SMADC’s overall efforts or specific topics such as land preservation or marketing agricultural resources. To address this, SMADC has created a flexible presentation that can be adapted to the needs of various groups. A staff member, usually the executive director, meets with groups like these dozens of times throughout the year and speaks directly to these audiences.
Possible topics include:
- Buy Local Movement
- New & Beginning Farmers
- Southern Maryland Farming after Tobacco
- Cutting Edge Approaches for Direct Marketing
Scholarships and Sponsorships
SMADC recognizes the importance of educational and networking opportunities for farmers and for young adults (high school and above) that promote and support agriculture, stimulate interest in careers in agriculture and grow a new generation of farmers. To address this need, SMADC is offering both sponsorships and scholarships to residents in Southern Maryland.
Sponsorships are typically awarded to an entity seeking sponsorship funds for events that provide information or assistance to benefit the region’s farming community.
Scholarships are typically awarded to individuals who live in Southern Maryland to assist in the costs of attending training, a workshop or a program related to agriculture.
Preference is for residents/entities of Anne Arundel, Calvert, Charles, Prince George’s and St. Mary’s counties.
Applicants may apply anytime throughout the year, but requests will only be reviewed quarterly. The quarterly deadlines to submit applications for consideration are: January 1st, April 1st, July 1st and October 1st.
Submissions will be reviewed and evaluated by the SMADC board. For planning purposes, please note that the review process may take up to six weeks.
Trainings & Tutorials
SMADC has developed several tutorials to assist producers with various regulatory processes for value-added agriculture businesses including acidified foods and meat processing. In addition, we have other resources available for soil health, conservation planning, land preservation, and real estate.
Loan Programs and Grant Opportunities
SMADC Farm Grants and Financing Opportunities
As part of its ongoing mission to support farming in Southern Maryland, SMADC makes grants and financing assistance available to individual farmers, groups and ag-related entities to fund projects, acquisitions, research and development and more.
Farmer Grant Opportunities
Southern Maryland Agricultural Mini Grant Program
The Southern Maryland Agricultural Mini Grant Program assists farmers with small start-up projects and with diversifying their farming enterprise. Awards up to $2,000 to individual farmers (with a one-to-one match by the farmer).
Regional Agriculture Project
The Regional Agriculture Project Grant was offered to the five Southern Maryland counties to foster collaboration among the ag-related entities and farmers within each county. Awards were made to support projects that will enhance the agricultural infrastructure of the county (purchase of equipment or development of central facilities to be used by farmers in each home county.)
Farmer Financing Programs
Southern Maryland Agricultural Equity Incentive Matching Fund
The Southern Maryland Agricultural Equity Incentive Matching Fund, offered in conjunction with MARBIDCO, is designed to incentivize loan requests from farmers and to help them meet certain down-payment (equity) requirements, in order to help improve the credit quality of their applications.
Southern Maryland Revolving Loan Fund for Agricultural & Shellfish Aquaculture
The Southern Maryland Revolving Loan Fund for Agricultural & Shellfish Aquaculture Producers, a loan program designed exclusively for Southern Maryland applicants to assist with purchases and upgrades. Loans available from $10,000 – $20,000.
Other Programs & Opportunities
SMADC offers various grant opportunities for farms throughout the year. Sign up for our newsletter and follow us on Social Media to get notifications of new programs. SMADC also helps support Farm Equipment Rental Programs throughout the region and programs to support farmers’ markets.
Farm Marketing Resources
SMADC’s various programs offer opportunities for farms to market their products and take advantage of the “buy local” brand campaign:
- List your farm in one or all of SMADC’s Directories designed to help consumers find the farms they need
- Join Southern Maryland Meats (meat producers only, free) and have your farm listed on this targeted website
- Add your equine-based farm to the Southern Maryland Historic Horse Trail, one of state-wire network of trails highlighting historic and modern equine destinations
SMADC offers advertising to farms and non-farm businesses on several websites and printed publications, including the popular Holiday Guide. All of SMADC’s printed publications are available to view on-line and are heavily downloaded by consumers in pdf format.
Contact Susan McQuilkin at firstname.lastname@example.org for more details.
Get Our Guides
Southern Maryland Farmers’ Market Guide
This 8-page brochure (produced every spring) lists farmers markets in Southern Maryland, as well as regional markets that carry So. Maryland farm products.
Southern Maryland Meats and Seafood Guide
This mini-directory (approximately 20 pages) lists local producers of meat and seafood, as well as venues that carry these products (butcher shops, grocers, farm stands, etc.)
Southern Maryland Farm Holiday Guide
This 32-page brochure features more than 80 Southern Maryland farms that offer events, products, and services throughout the late fall and winter season (agri-tourism, Christmas tree farms, gifts, etc.).
Southern Maryland Farm Guide
This comprehensive farm directory is printed/updated every 2 – 3 years. The book (approximately 140 pages), includes extensive, indexed listings for local farms.
Southern Maryland Equine Guide
This mini-directory (produced periodically) lists equine farms and businesses in Southern Maryland that feature horse-related products and services (stables, vets, farriers, hay, etc.)
Southern Maryland Trails: Earth, Art, Imagination
This major guide book (produced periodically) lists businesses in Southern Maryland that offer home made, home grown, locally raised products.
Heron’s Flight Trail
Map | Listings
The Heron’s Flight is not a linear trail. Instead, a cluster of sites near the center of Charles County forms the core, and various offshoots branch out to the water’s edge in all directions. The first five sites (the core of this Trail) are in La Plata’s downtown on Charles Street and St. Mary’s Avenue; they are all within walking distance of each other, although parking is readily available.
Barnwood & Beach Glass Loop
Map | Listings
Start this Trail at the St. Mary’s County Welcome Center, just south of the Charles County line at the intersection of Route 5 and Charlotte Hall School Road. You can access the first site (Three Notch Trail) just west of the Welcome Center.
Fossils & Farmscapes Ramble
Map | Listings
The top of this Trail meanders a bit through Southern Prince George’s and Anne Arundel counties, stopping off at some not-to-be missed farms chock full of fall festivities, fun and funky animals and fresh food. Then on to more of the great outdoors — a handful of parks along the Patuxent River — before plunging straight down through the heart of Calvert County, sampling lots of original art, fine dining (and casual dining too) and more farms! To Start: from the intersection of Route 301 (Crain Highway) and Route 214 (Central Avenue) take Route 214 EAST. Queen Anne Farm is 1.5 miles on LEFT.
Here are a few of the annual events and festivals you’ll find along the Trails. And check out the websites listed at the end of this section to find full events listings for each county. Download
Discovering the New American Farmer
This 30-minute documentary focuses on the modern struggles of farmers as the region transitions out of tobacco, and the responsibilities of So. Maryland consumers as the population rapidly increase in the area. Cost is $10 per video. Buy Video
Farm Equipment Rental Programs
SMADC has purchased some farmland equipment to be shared and rented for farmers across the Southern Maryland region through various county entities.
Click Here for complete inventory of all equipment available for rent is listed by county.
NOTE: Some of the equipment will require the user to undergo training, either by attending a scheduled training session, viewing a training video, or requesting a review of the operation of the equipment from the provider.
Commercial Meat Freezer Trailers
Used to transport locally raised (USDA slaughtered, vacuum packed and frozen) meat cuts directly from the slaughter facility to the farm for sale to consumers, restaurants, stores and other retail venues. Available to any livestock producer in the five counties of Southern Maryland.
Managing entities for the freezer trailers are Calvert County Farm Bureau, the Home Grown Farm Market LLC, and Prince George’s County Farm Bureau. Initial rental fee is $85. Please contact managing entities for full rental terms and conditions.
To find out more on how you can use the trailers, please contact the following:
JR Cosgrove, (443) 532-5763
St. Mary’s & Charles County:
Willie Goddard, (301) 475-5190
Prince George’s and Anne Arundel:
Norma Fitzhugh or Kim Rush Lynch, (301) 868-8780
Buying, Selling & Leasing Farmland
Farmland in Southern Maryland
SMADC has several resources for those wishing to buy, lease or sell farmland, including tools for realtors interested in selling agricultural real estate.
- Farmland Property Exchange lists agricultural and forest land for sale or lease on the Maryland FarmLINK website
- Realtor Training Course offered jointly by Maryland Farmlink, Maryland Department of Agriculture and the University of Maryland
- Listing of Real Estate Professionals who have completed an ag-specific realtor training course
What’s New at SMADC
Get the latest news and updates from the Southern Maryland Agricultural Development Commission. Subscribe to our weekly newsletter and get alerts about upcoming events and special announcements.
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